Friday, May 28, 2010

On STS-51-L

It is true, I was a baby
when the Challenger occurred
but I grew up in its shadow
and it haunts like Edgar's bird
sitting on the bust of Pallas
(which embodying the wise
seems so fitting, yes, and tragic)
hanging pale upon the skies.
And we learned if we'd been watching
that the wall was written on
if we'd seen it at ignition
we'd have known that they were gone
but instead we traced it skyward
pure white vapor bore them high
but about a minute later
chuff and poom and orange and cry
with the curlicues of vapor
stenciled high up on the blue
with the "Uh-oh" and the impact
they were through and we all knew
and it sank into our spirits
and it sank into our bones
of the foolishness of NASA
and the risks and the unknowns
oh, we shivered when we heard it
how we cringed to hear the tale
of the guess and imprecision
the assumption it can't fail
and I hoped we learned a lesson
as the physics overruled
all the lofty expectations
because nature can't be fooled.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who Are You, O Man?

Who are you, O man?

Funny you should ask!
I am he who digs for gold
I am he who kindles fire
I am he who rides the water and the wind
I am he who demolishes mountains in my way
I am he who probes the stars.

Who are you, O man?

Well, I suppose I could go on.
I am he who loves his own
I am he who hates selectively
I am he who develops culture
I am he who thinks, therefore
I am he who is.

Who are you, O man?

Hmm, what are you getting at?
I am he who can make this defense
I am he who wants a fair fight
I am he who responds to a cry in the night
I am he who causes it, too
I am he who is just and cruel.

Who are you, O man?

Bah! You are prying, now!
I am he who will give you what-for!
I am he who has managed fine by myself so far!
I am he who will continue to do so, thanks!
I am he who sees an empty universe!
I am he who needs no god!

Enough interruptions.
Who are you, O man,
to answer back to God?
Will the thing formed
say to its maker:
Why have you made me thus?
Who are you, O man,
to answer back to God?

Monday, May 24, 2010

What do you do?

It's like looking down the barrel
of a revolver,
and you can see the cylinder rotating
as the hammer winds up,
and you know
that when those lines are just so-
that's it.

It's like sailing
almost-silently through the air,
not looking down,
just listening to the whistle,
and the thump-thump of rotors going backwards,
because the engines are gone
and what do you do?

It's like orbiting the Earth,
seeing her all blue-green below,
and there's your home state
-hey! the Grand Canyon!
and the oxygen will be gone
in another twenty minutes.

How are you feeling today?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My friend

We have walked thus far together
and enjoyed the company
we have shared a meal
shared our homes
shared the silence of study
and the noise of our music.

You have departed
it ends the things before
and you go on
the better for it all
and the woman you have chosen
like a coat from the cold,
may it never wear thin!

And I will remain
with a smile mixed with pain
as you set your face away
because you must
and you ought to
and such is the way it should be.

My friend, farewell.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Haiku for Summertime

Brazen sun
Noontime heat soaks sand
Warming the dead.

Gilded rose petal
Grown beside my door
Wither and fall.

Monday, May 10, 2010

For My Friend, Who's Had a Rough Year

Clear-eyed and sadly staring
down at feet so little and dolled-up
wrapping thin arms around thin legs
bent double
twice crushed
once loved.
She shivers and laughs
forcing it out
high-pressure hilarity
don't let anything out
or catastrophe.
Thinking about the ocean
so deep, cold, and full of life and death
it is bluest green and troubled
filling the horizon of my mind
"And the sea will give up its dead"
but at least they rest quietly now.
Lucky dead.
Polish the spears and saddle the charger
Unfurl the banner and ride forth
conquering and to conquer
seeking love errant.
She will find and slay a heart.
Girl of La Mancha,
you sit in the grass
Girl of La Mancha,
unhorsed in your pass
Girl of La Mancha,
enchantment has won,
Girl of La Mancha,
your efforts undone,
Girl of La Mancha,
took one of the chin.
Sweet Girl of La Mancha,
You'll try once again.
Nurse your bruises
bind the wounds
staunch your bleeding heart.
You live.
Be grateful:
not everybody gets out of love
as unscathed as you.
"The sun also rises,
and the sun goes down
and hastens to the place where it arose.
The waters flow into the sea
and the sea is not full
to the place whence the waters came
there they return again."
Do you know
that life is vibrant?
Moving all around you,
it will not wait for you
if you sit it out,
but it will always
welcome you back in,
a little bit downstream.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

On the Sufficiency of Christ

It is such a relief to not have to save yourself. I couldn't get anything done if I were everywhere looking to make sure I didn't fail, always watching my merit-o-meter, and making sure that every jot and tittle was correct. And no matter what, it wouldn't work. Ask Saul "Nine-for-ten-ain't-bad" of Tarsus. Whoever fails the law in one point is guilty of breaking it all. Shucks.

Enter Jesus "Ten-for-ten-and-all-the-rest" of Nazareth. He kept the entire law. By so doing, he earned true merit. He met the demands of every covenant ever made between God and mankind. And what did he do with all this merit, all this obedience?

He laid it down. No one took it from him, but he laid it down. If sin is death and obedience is life, and Christ laid down his life as a sacrifice, so he laid down that treasury of merit at the altar of the cross, and offered it up to his Just and Righteous Father. It was a pleasing and acceptable sacrifice.

But thank God it doesn't end there. Just as Christ took up his life again, for death had no power over him, and gives that life to those who believe in him, so he gives the wages he earned to those who believe in him. He was not robbed of them. He is still the perfect law-keeper. And now, to those who call on his name and depend on him alone for salvation, he gives those wages of righteousness, which is to say, he gives life.

You cannot separate the life that Christ gives to his people from the work that he did for them. The life presupposes the work. If you want life in Christ, you must accept his merit, and his merit only. The minute you try to chip in and go Dutch on salvation, it's ruined. Your money's no good here. In fact, it's bad.

Now, shall we sin more that grace may abound? By no means! Work and pray, live like you have life in Christ, but know that you can only do that if you rest on his perfect work, wholly and entirely sufficient for salvation in this life and that which is to come.

Anyway, I couldn't think of a better topic for a first post. This is not exclusively going to be a theology blog, but as it is a topic that makes demands on a person, it is a topic which demands an address. So, there you have it. The gospel, with a few elaborations on certain points. All the best to you.